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    I prefer to be a writer – Kona Venkat

    Saturday, September 08, 2007
    Kona Venkat, the grandson of popular artiste, producer, director and politician Kona Prabhakara Rao, was almost settled in the film industry as a popular writer for the past 10 years and worked for over 26 films as script writer. He penned scripts for several hit Telugu films like ''Amma-Nanna-O Tamila Ammayi, Okariki Okaru, Baalu, Andarivadu, Venky, Dhee'' and Hindi films like ''Satya and Company''. Recently, he is directing a film ''Adi Oka Idile''. had a tête-à-tête with this writer-turned-director, where he shared his feelings. Over to Kona Venkat:

    Greetings Mr Venkat! Tell us about your family backdrop…

    Sure. Let me also wish you and the browsers a happy day. My grandfather is Kona Prabhakara Rao. Everyone knows that he is a popular politician. But, only a few people know that he played a villain in 'Drohi' with LV Prasad as hero and G Varalakshmi as heroine. Later, he directed and produced 'Mangala Sutram' during those days. It is my grandfather, who introduced popular artiste 'Rakta Kaneeru' Nagabhushanam to the film industry. Of course, he joined politics a little later and was elected as MLA for three times from Bapatla constituency and also worked as different minister posts and also as Maharashtra and Sikkim Governor.

    How did you get interest in film industry?

    I have completed my MBA in Pune. My father was a deputy superintendent of police and died while he was on duty. Like that I got a job in police department. But I did not join the job. However, I worked in Civil Supplies Department for three years and quit the job. Then I started an imports and exports company. During those days, my uncle Dronamraju Satyanarayana made me the convener for the Congress Publicity Cell. Popular artistes Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam and senior Naresh toured from Tirupati to Srikakulam along with me. They were the first two acquaintances for me from film industry.

    That means you entered the film industry because of those two.

    Exactly! Of course, not as a writer but I entered the films as a producer.

    What? Are you a producer?

    Yes. I produced 'Thokaleni Pitta' as producer. But the film was a big dud. I have become bankrupt with the film and was forced to sell off both the cars I owned as well to clear my debts.

    Then, how did you turn a writer?

    I knew Ramgopal Varma even before my entry into films. He asked me to come to Mumbai. I went there and participated in the story discussions of 'Satya'. Noticing my interest and the way of debating the subject, Ramu asked me to script dialogues for that movie. I penned dialogues and also two songs for 'Satya'. One of the two songs 'Mama Kallu Mama' became very popular during those days.

    How did you come from Mumbai to Hyderabad?

    I worked with Ramu from 'Satya' to 'Company' in Mumbai, but shifted to Hyderabad due to some personal reasons. Puri Jagannath was also one of my good friends. By that time, he was bringing out 'Idiot'. At that time, he narrated me the story of 'Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi' and asked me to script dialogues for that movie. You can say that was my first film as writer in Telugu film industry. That movie gave me an immense satisfaction as a writer and was also a super hit movie.

    Which were your favourite films among those films to which you worked?

    'Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi' directed by Puri Jagannath, 'Okariki Okaru' directed by Rasool, 'Balu' of Pawan Kalyan, 'Andarivadu' of Chiranjeevi, 'Venky' of Raviteja, 'Dhee' of Vishnu gave good satisfaction as a writer.

    We came to know that you are taking up direction. What is the subject? Who were the artistes? What was the reason behind your turning into direction?

    Some times, the feel with which I scripted the story and dialogues did not elevate on the screen. There are so many such instances. So, in order to watch what exactly that was in my mind, I should direct the film on my own. I struggled a lot for a subject for a film in my debut direction. Like that, I prepared a story for 'Adi Oka Idile' after a lot of labour. I chose Madhavan as hero, Sada and Shamita Shetty in the female lead.

    One more question. We also came to know that you are bringing out the film in three languages simultaneously, like Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. Is it true?

    Yes. It is true. I am directing the film in Telugu and Tamil languages, while Ramu is directing the Hindi version. The Tamil version was titled as 'Leelai' and in Hindi it is 'Darling'. Though the central point is similar to all the versions, there will be a vast difference in screenplay and treatment of the film between me and Ramu. We are planning to release the film in September.

    Will you continue as director from now on?

    No. My main profession is a writer. But, whenever I get a story that touches my heart, I will take up direction. Otherwise, I will remain a writer.

    Thank you for opening your heart before our browsers.

    I too thank for giving me this opportunity. Good day!

    Ms Srilekha! take the greetings from!

    Thank you. Salutations to all the browsers. My best wishes to you all.

    You have become a music director at a young age. How did you got the opportunity?

    It is not young age. It is just a tender age. I was just 12 years old. Dasari Narayana Rao noticed the spark in me and gave me the opportunity. I made my debut in a film 'Nannagaru' directed by him. I will be grateful to him all through my life.

    Didn't you inform the Guinness Book of World Records about your achievement?

    No. In fact, none of us know how to approach them.

    Did you learn classical music?

    Yes. I started learning. But meanwhile I have become a music director. So I couldn't learn much. But I was able to learn the music so far that is needed for film music with all my experience in films.

    Which of the films brought you a good recognition as music director?

    It is 'Taj Mahal' that earned good recognition as a music director. Incidentally, it is the debut film for director Muppalaneni Siva and lyricist Chandrabose.

    You score music for small budget and young heroes. There is a comment that you are not getting good opportunity to play music for big heroes' films. Why?

    Who said that? It is a wrong notion. I scored music for 'Dharma Chakram' of Venkatesh, 'Sivanna' of Dr Rajasekhar, 'Moodu Mukkalata' of Jagapatibabu. All these are big heroes' films. Isn't it? There are chances for scoring music for Nagarjuna's film very soon.

    It's Okay. Why there is no longevity to the current generation songs like the old classics? What is your comment on this?

    It is just because of speed. Like in all the other issues, the speed in film music also took a good pace. That is why, the songs are getting tuned at a terrible speed and are vanishing in the thin air with the same speed.

    How far it is justified to make the songs sung by other language singers, who don't know our language properly?

    Of course, it is a little problematic. But we are forced to take them for a change and variety in voice. But you can find good singers also among them. For example… Chitra. She is basically a Malayalee. She doesn't know Telugu. But her songs are becoming widely popular among the audiences. Is it not true?

    Who is your favourite God?


    What is your favourite tourist spot?

    Goa. Not just Goa, I like any beach.

    What is your favourite food?

    I like chicken dishes very much.

    What are your current projects?

    The latest flick of hero Sivaji, 'Maisamma IPS' of Dasari Narayana Rao, 'Tinnamaa… Padukunnaamaa… Tellaarindaa…' of Ali are the projects currently on hand. Two, three others are yet to be finalised.

    What is your life ambition?

    Scoring music to a Bollywood film is my aim. I worked for a film and did re-recording for that Bollywood movie. But I did not get an opportunity to work for a Hindi film in a full-fledged way. Possibly, I could achieve that aim very soon.

    All the best Ms Srilekha. Once again our birthday greetings on the occasion!

    I too thank the for taking me closer to its browsers.

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